Cultural Heritage Tours


Downtown Tour

Shartenberg’s Department Store

761 Chapel Street


Shartenberg's, c. 1930s. Courtesy Joe Taylor.

Jacob S. Shartenberg, a Jewish immigrant from Germany in 1853, came to America at age sixteen and became an apprentice watchmaker. Later he was hired into the dry goods business and in 1881 started his own store in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the New Idea Store.

In 1906 Shartenberg and his partner Henry Robinson bought Howe & Stetson Co. in New Haven. In 1913 Robinson left, and Shartenberg’s sons Charles and Henry joined the business. Shartenberg opened a new building on Chapel Street in 1915. It had white pillars, six stories, and 150,000 square feet of floor space. Its doors opened onto Chapel, Orange and State Streets. It was the biggest department store in old downtown New Haven.

The department store came under new management in 1952, and business slowed in the recessions of 1958–59 and 1960. Shartenberg’s finally closed in 1962, and was demolished in 1966 as part of Urban Renewal to make room for a then-planned parking facility. Today, 360 State Street Apartments, part of the current boom in downtown residential development, stands on the site.

  • Text source courtesy Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven Archives.

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